How To Speak With Conviction!

What does it mean to speak with conviction?

Merriam Dictionary: Conviction - a strong belief or opinion; the feeling of being sure that what you believe or say is true.

My definition: To speak with Conviction - The ability to transfer information to and from others in an intentional, influential, and honest way where you and others feel safe and heard and needs are met.

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The four elements needed when speaking with conviction:

  1. Control the volume, tone, and speed of your words/voice. Don’t speak too fast or too slowly. Don’t speak too loud or too soft. Don’t speak harshly, especially if what you want to say may not be received well. Don’t speak passively like you don’t mean what you say.

In the age of texting and email, make sure when you write you are not angry and you have thought about how your words will make the person on the receiving end feel.  Best practice is to wait a minute before pressing the send button, re-read, and wait one more minute and re-read again before pressing send, editing along the way as needed. Choosing not to say something that needs to be said is passive and only works short term.  These individuals often feel dumped on, mistreated, misunderstood, foster a lot of anger, resentment  and guilt because they have a fear of speaking about the things that trouble them. 

Caution: One must be wise to realize the difference between what needs to be said and what does not need to be said.  Not everything needs to be said in the moment you think it should.  Be wise and thoughtful.

2. Always speak the truth. Make sure you mean what you say. If you are trying to convince someone of a lie they will more likely see through it. The truth rarely needs convincing; however, it may need nuancing. Many people either fail at being honest and believe a little white lie won’t hurt. Sometimes this can be true; however, most times, even a little white lie can be harmful, especially if the person on the receiving end believes you are not being honest. Many times people get away with it because rarely will a person confront you on a white lie. Often people can be forgiven this minor transgression, unless this type of passive-aggressive communication is often your go to.

For instance:

Girl 1: Can you help me move this weekend?  Girl 2: No, I have to do something for my mom this weekend. (really she just wants to go to the beach and relax this weekend)

Girl 1: Well, I moved this weekend, it wasn’t easy but I made it happen. How was your weekend? Girl 2: Well, I had a great time just soaking up the sun on the beach.  It was so relaxing. (she forgot her little lie)

Now Girl 1 is not likely to say: “hey, I thought you had to help your mom with something” (she may think it and make a mental note) and if she did mention it to Girl 2; then Girl 2 is more likely to compound the lie by saying: “Oh no, I did but then I went to the beach.” (Girl 1 might be thinking, “um, some friend”)

This will leave Girl 1 thinking, how good of friends are we if she has to lie about something like that; or, she could say I wouldn’t want to help anyone move either until the next time she catches Girl 2 in another lie, which if this passive-aggressive way of communicating is Girl 1’s go to, then it will happen again.  Take my word for it-people DO take note and keep score, even if they have not made you aware of it.

Image if Girl 2 said: I really would like to help you move this weekend but I have already made plans to have some much needed me time.  What do you think Girl 1’s response would have been?

3. Make sure your body is speaking the same language as your mouth. Body language is an integral part of communicating. You may be saying one thing and your body language may be saying something else. You should always be mindful how you sit or stand. Back straight, feet shoulder or hip length apart, look person(s) in the face, hands should be by your side, not in your pockets and not flinging about.

Even when you are texting or emailing practice appropriate posture while doing so.  Also, try smiling while you respond to a text because it is more difficult (not impossible) to write or text someone something angry, harmful or alarming. 

4. Avoid passive or passive-aggressive words/phrases. “I think”; “maybe”; “you should”; instead use , “I will,”. Avoid, “I believe”; “I won’t," instead use, “I will” . Avoid, “I can’t”; instead use, “I can”. This does not mean you should never say no. Being able to say no is important.

Example: Passive-aggressive speech: “I can’t do that because I’m believe I may be too busy.” Think about how the person receiving this may feel when hearing or reading this message.  The receiver may not find you authentic and pretentious, and standoffish.

Assertive speech: “I’m not able to do that at this time because I have a meeting” OR “I’m not able to do that on Saturdays because that is the day I save for my me time.  Perhaps we can do on Sunday or after work one day next week.” This language appears honest and gives the receiver an option to reschedule, which will make them feel valued.

You may ask yourself, “Why do I always have to be weary of other peoples feelings and how they receive something?”  The simple answer is because you want them to be weary of your feelings.  The more complicated answer is you often think it doesn’t matter how someone feels about the choices you make for yourself; yet it does matter.  It often has nothing to do with the choice(s) you make but everything to do with how you choose to communicate it to others, which ultimately can make others feel good or bad about a situation or about you, or about themselves. 

How one communicates either will build or break relationships.  The richer person is a person who values all relationships and honors them all.  While a poor person is a person who thinks people are replaceable and how one feels about you is of no consequence.  This could be an inability to connect, self hatred, low self esteem, or a low sense of emotional intelligence. 

How you treat others will reflect in the type of people you have around you; will reflect in whether you have long term or short term relationships; it will reflect in whether you have authentic relationships as opposed to superficial relationships; it may reflect in the lack of or the overwhelming abundance of prosperity.  Life, essentially, is about having positive people around you which creates more positive experiences for you.  If you treat people kind and communicate in a kind and caring way, even when they have not done so with you, it creates a positive experience for someone else which in turn creates a positive experience for yourself.  The more positive experiences you have in life makes you happier, which creates a greater sense of self-esteem, self worth, which creates more creative positivity , which will reflect in all areas of your life: spiritually, financially, socially, and romantically.

When you fail to communicate with conviction you lack a sense of self control.  You lower your emotional IQ, which diminishes your relationships. It leaves you feeling lonely, confused, misunderstood as well as others around you tend to have these same feelings. 

The key to speaking with conviction is the ability to do so even when one is frustrated, angered, mis-treated, or just not feeling one’s best.  Speaking with conviction is not about being dishonest with people it is about being very honest but caring about how the other person will feel regarding what you say.  It is about creating an atmosphere where people feel safe and willing to communicate with you; which in turn gives you a safe space to openly communicate with them.  This is the crux of building positive long lasting relationships with others which ultimately leads to a happier more fulfilling life.